Newswise — Park Ridge, Ill. – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to claim lives worldwide, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Dru Riddle, PhD, DNP, CRNA, FAAN, is working to help ensure the international healthcare system develops strong, evidence-based health policy and delivery systems.

Riddle, a member of the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA) Board of Directors and co-chair of the Cochrane US Network, led a roundtable group of international health leaders at Cochrane Convenes to address prioritizing and identifying evidence needs of users.  Their findings were recently presented to an international audience of healthcare leaders, elected officials, and evidence users. 

“Findings from this event will be used to shape the development of future international health policy,” Riddle said. “It will help the global healthcare community mount stronger evidence-based responses to future global health emergencies.”

Riddle was the only anesthesia professional representing the entire U.S. healthcare system at Cochrane Convenes.

Led by Cochrane, co-sponsored by the World Health Organization, and co-organized with partners of COVID-END (COVID-19 Evidence Network to support Decision-making), the recommendations and learning from Cochrane Convenes will form an action plan to advocate for change across the global health evidence community including those who produce evidence, share health messages, and those who use evidence to make decisions in policy and practice.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, nurse anesthetists across the country have been essential in addressing the deadliest part of disease in addition to providing top-of-the-line anesthesia care. They have served as experts in airway management, hemodynamic monitoring, management of patients on ventilators, and overall management of critically ill patients. 

The observations and recommendations from Cochrane Convenes include:

  • The pandemic evidence response has been weighted towards high-income countries. Funders should invest more in research carried out by low- and middle-income countries, support training and communication needs, and address the inequity in what is funded.
  • Building expertise in conveying uncertainty about what is known and not known during a health emergency.
  • Stronger connections are needed across sectors; this involves building and incentivizing institutions, partnerships and networks to be better prepared for future emergencies.

Cochrane is an international charitable organization formed to organize medical research findings to facilitate evidence-based choices about health interventions involving health professionals, patients and policy makers. It includes 53 review groups that are based at research institutions worldwide.